Friday, May 10, 2013

Honeymoon Recap, part 3

After Cyprus, we headed to Haifa, Israel. Our cruise was supposed to stop in Haifa one day and then a different (southern) Israel port the next day, but due to unrest nearby, the second port was cancelled. Instead the boat stayed in Haifa overnight.

Thanks to a generous gift from my parents, Dan and I headed into Israel with a private tour guide and spent the night in Jerusalem at a swanky hotel. Thanks mom and dad!
Our hotel room. Dan is in a legitimate zebra chair. It was hairy and everything.
Straight off the boat we went to the Dead Sea. On the way, we stopped at Bet She'an, a national park with yet another Roman city ruins.

Ruins in Israel are often found in these trapezoid shaped mountains called a tel. They result from cities being built directly on top of the ruins of an older city. If you are so inclined, a (VERY LONG) book called The Source by James Michener, tells the story of a fictional tel and all the different conquering peoples that built a city on the same spot. The book was suggested reading when I went to Israel the first time in '00 with my middle school. It's excellent!
Below is a Roman public toilet, unearthed in the ruins. People sat on the stones sticking out of the wall, with waste falling between them into a water-filled channel that would carry the waste to the sewers. Not that I want to use one, but it's very advanced for the time!
There are no pictures of the Dead Sea, because I didn't want to damage/lose my camera less than halfway through our honeymoon. Suffice it to say we floated, we coated ourselves in mud, and repeat....

The drive to the Dead Sea and then into Jerusalem took basically the whole day, so our tour guide dropped us at the hotel. Dan and I showered (wash the Dead Sea off!) and got dressed then went back out to explore Jerusalem.

It was really cold, but we wandered around for a bit and found a restaurant to eat at. Oh my gosh! This kosher meat restaurant had traditional middle eastern dishes with a fancy twist and it was SO GOOD. We got a big pita appetizer (with delicious dipping sauces including more absurdly good tahini!):
a lamb neck entree (with a big cinnamon stick in there):
and a lemony, garlicky, white bean and sea bass entree:
So good! I wish I could time travel to relive this meal!

The next day we went into the old city of Jerusalem (inside the walls)

Jaffa Gate
We visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where (according to some branches of Christianity) Jesus was crucified and entombed.

Then we visited the Western Wall, which is the outer retaining wall of the holy temple mount and is the most holy site in the world to Jews.

Dan and I each took a few minutes to pray at our respective holy sites. Later, I asked Dan what he prayed about. He said he prayed for our family (me, him, our future kids)... that's what I prayed for too! I wonder what God thinks of that? (I wonder what the mean old ladies of the world would think of that, too.)
We wandered some more through the old city, did some shopping in the new city, and then sat in Friday afternoon Jerusalem traffic trying to get back to the boat. We definitely want to go back and do more exploring, 2 days is not nearly enough time to see it!
Our tour guide took us to some small local-favorite type shops for lunch and this delicious dessert of waffles with crazy toppings. Dan and I shared one, with a pile of whipped cream... So yummy!
Next up: more cruising, then Crete and Naples

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